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Call for Evidence

Call for evidence – Proxy voting

Background

One of the Committee’s early actions following the 2019 General Election was to revive its predecessor’s inquiry into proxy voting, which was interrupted by the dissolution of Parliament.

In its Report Proxy voting: review of pilot arrangements, the Committee concluded that the system of proxy voting for parental absence in the House of Commons was operating well and should be made permanent. This change was made by the House on 23 September 2020.

Standing Order No. 39A (Voting by proxy) enables Members to vote by proxy “by reason of absence […] for childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child”, and also as a result of complications relating to childbirth.

In its inquiry the Committee noted the interest of some Members in extending the eligibility for a proxy vote to include grounds other than parental absence. The Committee concluded that considering the matter while widespread use of proxy votes under the temporary scheme relating to the pandemic would be impractical.

Now that the scheme of pandemic proxies has ceased, and representations have been made in favour of further consideration of proxy voting, the Committee intends to conduct a short, focused inquiry on whether eligibility for a proxy vote should be broadened.

Terms of reference

  • Should the terms of Standing Order No. 39A (Voting by proxy) be broadened to cover reasons other than “childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child”?
  • In what other circumstances (if any) should a Member be eligible for a proxy vote?
  • What criteria and conditions should apply to the use or duration of a proxy vote for reasons other than the existing criteria?
  • How should transparency and confidentiality relating to the reason for a proxy vote be balanced?
  • What would the consequences be for Members, their constituents and the House of greater proxy voting?

Deadline

The Committee intends to take oral evidence from Members of Parliament and others after the conference recess. Short submissions of written evidence are invited by Monday 8 November.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to Voting by proxy Inquiry